Olympiakos captain: Manchester United tie like a final

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Olympiakos skipper sees Manchester United’s Piraeus visit as a momentous occasion.

In Greece, the 40-time domestic champions operate within a sphere of impenetrability, this season already 20 points ahead in the title race with eight games left to play.

When it comes to continental competition, however, contending with the giants of Europe has been a tough task for the Kokkinoi - a single quarter-finals appearance in 1999 their best showing.

On Tuesday the quest to reach this level once more begins again as United travel to the Karaiskakis Stadium for the first leg of the sides’ round of 16 clash.

And one man who hasn’t lacked appreciation for the situation is club captain Giannis Maniatis, who believes the tie deserves to be treated as a final for his side.

The great day has come,” he said in Olympiakos’ pre-match press conference. “We waited a long time for this game.

Obviously for us, it is the game of the year, this is the first final.

“We are ready and have worked hard, we really want to win this game and wit the support of our fans, we will look to make them proud of us all.”

The Greek giants are somewhat fortunate to have caught United at the club’s lowest point in years, sitting 11 points off the pace for Champions League football next term in a sputtering title defence under Sir Alex Ferguson replacement David Moyes.

The pair have met four times before in history - each as part of two-legged ties in Europe’s elite competition - with the current Premier League champions victorious in each instance by a combined score of 12-2.

 

image: © [puamelia]

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